Greg and I swirl ideas back and forth like batter for pancakes. Since 2000, we have been in an ongoing – if sporadic – conversation about roles for young people throughout society, particularly in schools.
A little history: Greg Williamson comes from a long-line of western Washingtonians, born and raised in the Tacoma-area. His evergreen ways led him to The Evergreen State College, where he did wonderful things and eventually began substitute teaching. Oh, and along the way he was instrumental in founding a cool program and some other stuff. It was when he began working for Senator Patty Murray’s office that he got interested in this new movement focused on “getting youth involved” in their communities. As Patty’s education guy, Greg took that analysis into schools, albeit with limited applications.
Then in 2000 he came to OSPI as a policy guy. From there he launched an advocacy platform that continues to this day. After initially partnering with the agency’s YES Ambassadors (myself included), Greg raised interest and funds to create OSPI’s Student Engagement Office in 2003. His Student2Student program created a template for creating positions for students in Washington’s education reform conversation; he’s now working on breaking through to the other side.
For the last two days Greg and I have been talking about what that looks like, where, when, and how that can happen. While I’m sure that Greg will run his student engagement plan through a dozen other eyes, it was good to be sitting in the same room as him, if just for a few moments as he reflects, I spin, and we create wonderful new possibilities for meaningful student involvement across Washington State. These were good days.